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Google working on RAW support and improved camera features for Android

Sharif Sakr
November 18, 2013
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Nokia may be the first to have delivered RAW photography in a smartphone, but there's evidence to suggest that Google isn't too far behind. A month-old batch of code, recently spotted by app developer Josh Brown, reveals that work has been underway on a new Android camera API that could allow smartphones to store uncompressed images alongside JPEG ones, drastically increasing the amount of correction and manipulation that can be accomplished after an image has been captured.

A second snippet from the API suggests that Android may get some level of stock support for modular or external cameras, perhaps like Sony's QX10 and QX100, although the meaning of the words is slightly ambiguous:

The camera device is removable and has been disconnected from the Android device, or the camera service has shut down the connection due to a higher-priority access request for the camera device.

Ars Technica has pointed out some other potential changes that are buried in the documentation, and rightly suggests that any imaging-related improvements would be a good thing for Android right now. Even with Sony's Xperia Z1, which contains one of the most powerful sensors currently found in an Android phone, it's the software that holds things back more than anything else, so extra features in the underlying OS could provide manufacturers with just the nudge they need.

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